TRACKWORK

Back to Fatjack's Home Page This is a new department for Fatjack's Place. Dave is in the process of building a really unique Model Railroad. He is documenting the process with photos and comments and these will be posted in these listed departments. Please check back soon. Track Plan
Back to Fatjack's Table of Contents Construction
Concept Scenery
History Structures
Timetable-All Rules

Operation

Locomotives Finished Layout
Rolling Stock Benchwork
Miscellaneous Back to Model Railroad Intro Page Trackwork - You are here
 

 

and
SCLN&TC
Southern Colorado Land Navigation & Transfer Co.

Scroll down for photos

The sub-roadbed, as well as the entire Westcliffe area and the covered area of Durdy Dawg, are made from two pieces of 3/8” plywood glued and screwed together.  The roadbed is cork, which I have used since the 1950s, and love it.  For a backwater narrow gauge railroad I actually didn’t need the raised cork roadbed, but I like the looks of it so I used it.  The ballast is Highball, and a mixture of light and dark gray.  I like Highball ballast because it’s heavy and easy to glue down.  There will be places where I will fill in around the raised roadbed so the track looks like it is at ground level and it will be overgrown with weeds.

All of the curves are 24” radius with a 36” radius tangent.  A tangent leading into the curve is important for realistic looking operation.

All of the track is Micro-Engineering Code 83 On30 flex track.  All of the turnouts are Micro-Engineering Code 83 On30.  The only thing I don’t like about the turnouts is that they have a cast frog, which is a dead spot for electrical pickup, but seem to work fine.  All of the turnouts are hand-thrown using Caboose Industries HO scale ground throws.  I have used these ground throws for many years and they are bullet proof.  I used HO scale because the size is not over scale for On30.  But for O scale I had to put in an extension between the ground throw and the turnout control.  I used brass wire for this.

You will notice in the trackplan that all of the tracks dead end as there aren’t any loops.  Instead of using standard wheel stops at the ends of the track, timbers or stumps will be used as stops. The cork roadbed was put down on the entire railroad before laying any track. 

Track templates from Crystal River Products were used for laying out the trackplan and also laying the track.

D. A. Bontrager: Owner

Click on photo for enlargement

1. DURDY DAWG

I’m really pleased with the way Durdy Dawg came out.  In the background the track to the far right is where the engine house will go and the turnout leading off to the right is the coaling siding.  The next track over is for locomotive storage, and the track to the far left is the tail track for the main/passing siding turnout.  The two curved sidings at the lower left in the photo are for caboose and freight car storage.  The two curved tracks at the bottom in the photo are the main and passing sidings leading to the turnout at Durdy Dawg North.

Click on photo for enlargement

2. CHUGWATER

This is Chugwater looking south with Durdy Dawg in the background.  These curves are extremely important.  Chugwater and Durdy Dawg will be separated with scenery and the curve at that end provides room for a mountain divider.  The curve in the foreground is Phantom Curve leading into Frisco Canyon.  The scenery in this section will separate Chugwater and Frisco Canyon.  In this photo you can see the walkway to the right of Chugwater, which allows Chugwater to be viewed from both sides, which of course means that this entire area will be well detailed.

Click on photo for enlargement

3. FRISCO CANYON SOUTH

This is the south entrance to Frisco Canyon looking north.  With the roadbed in place you can now see how this is going to work out.  A high canyon wall will separate Frisco Canyon from Westcliffe.  Things got a little tough here.  I needed to maintain my 24” minimum radius curves with 36” tangents, and still have room for Fork River through the canyon.  If I would have put more room between the tracks they would have cut into the Westcliffe area too much.  In order to give more room for Westcliffe the passing siding track is only 3” from the edge of the railroad.  This makes building the west wall of the canyon quite a challenge.  So Fork River became a very narrow river, but it worked out okay.

Click on photo for enlargement

4. FRISCO CANYON NORTH

This is the north entrance to Frisco Canyon looking south.

Click on photo for enlargement

5. WESTCLIFFE SOUTH

This is the south end of Westcliffe looking north.

Click on photo for enlargement

6. WESTCLIFFE NORTH

This is the north end of Westcliffe looking south

Click on photo for enlargement

7. DURDY DAWG SOUTH

Now we’re getting somewhere, the track is in place and it’s actually beginning to look like a railroad.  At this point in time the turnout ground throws are installed and the wiring is done, so now I can run trains to test the trackwork.  This is the south end of Durdy Dawg looking north.

Click on photo for enlargement

8. DURDY DAWG NORTH

This is the north end of Durdy Dawg looking south.  I always mentally visualize how I want things to look and Durdy Dawg turned out exactly how I visualized it – what a deal.  The track on the left is the passing siding for Durdy Dawg and also the northbound main.  The track on the right is the southbound main.  The station will go on the right side of the southbound main on the straight track just before the first turnout.

Click on photo for enlargement

9. CHUGWATER

Now you can see how Chugwater is going to be laid out.  You will also notice that the sub-roadbed and roadbed are in place where the trestles are going to go.  I am not hand laying any track, so the roadbed will need to be cut out and then the trestles built, which is backwards from normal trestle construction, but I will get into that later.

Click on photo for enlargement

10. FRISCO CANYON SOUTH

This is the south entrance to Frisco Canyon looking north.  A lot of curves here but they are very smooth.  Also, the beginning of each curve has a 36” tangent and there is also a straight section wherever the curve reverses itself.  You can also see where the roadbed has been cut out for the bridge over Fork River.  Not only is the track on the left the passing siding for Westcliffe, but it is also the southbound mainline and the track on the right is the northbound main.  The inspiration for Frisco Canyon came from Rio Grande’s Eagle River Canyon on Tennessee Pass.

Click on photo for enlargement

11. FRISCO CANYON NORTH

This is looking south at the north entrance to Frisco Canyon.  You can see the cutout for the flat bridge over Fork River in the upper right of the photo.  The straight track between the Frisco Canyon turnout and the Westcliffe turnout is where the station will go.

Click on photo for enlargement

12. WESTCLIFFE SOUTH

This is the south end of Westcliffe looking north.  This photo puts both ends of the railroad in perspective, with Durdy Dawg in the background and Westcliffe in the foreground and the walkway between the two.  You can also see part of the walkway to the left of Westcliffe.  Like Chugwater, Westcliffe will be viewed from both sides which means the entire area will be well detailed.

Click on photo for enlargement

13. OVERALL VIEW

This is as good of an overall view of the railroad that I can get, but it does show the design of the U shape with an L leg at one end.  You can also kind of see the walkways around three sides of the railroad.

Click on photo for enlargement

14. FLAT BRIDGE

This is the flat bridge at the north end of Frisco Canyon, just before entering Westcliffe.

Click on photo for enlargement

15. FLAT BRIDGE

This photo shows just how tight Fork River is going to be at this end.  This bridge was made so it’s removable until the scenery is finished.

16. The siding at Westcliffe was made into the east-west main.

17.

Making the run-through track at Durdy Dawg was more of a challenge.  I needed to tighten the curve to fit.  Although visually too tight for intermodal trains, it does work.  Had I used a No. 5 turnout the curve may not have been quite so tight, but when I did this No. 5 turnouts could not be found anywhere, so I used a No. 6.  After this is ballasted the difference in tie spacing won’t be so noticeable.

18.

This is the liftout section of the new run-through main between Westcliffe and Durdy Dawg.  This section will get basic scenery.